Special Olympics Kansas Leadership and Health Conference

Join us this year for this two-day conference to gain knowledge to become better leaders and advocates for our more than 4,200 Special Olympics Kansas athletes.


Hilton Garden Inn & Convention Center
3320 S. 9th, Salina, KS 67401

Dates: October 16-18, 2021

who and why?


Stakeholders in our program – Local Program Coordinators, Coaches, Family Members and other key volunteers. Anyone involved in Special Olympics Kansas that wants to network, learn, socialize and help us better serve our athletes!


  • Have a say in the future of the organization
  • Gain knowledge to allow you to be more successful in your role
  • Learn more about SOKS and our programs
  • Express your ideas and opinions
  • Network with other family members, coaches, local program coordinators
  • Interact with SOKS in a non-event setting…we’d like to get to know you!
  • Feel you’re part of the bigger SOKS program not just one Local Program…you’re essential to the SOKS Family

hotel information

Reservations can be made by logging on to the website at Hilton Garden Inn and entering the code SOKS or call the hotel directly at 785-309-0440 EXT 0.  To receive the contracted rate of $98/night (+ taxes), the attendees should identify the group as Special Olympics with SOKS. All reservations made by September 17, 2021.

Conference Schedule

Saturday, October 16


6:00pm - 10:00pm

opening & Social at the district

Dinner Provided, Cash Bar and Games

2259 S. 9th Street, Salina (


Sunday, October 17


10:00am – 11:00am

Unified Leadership + Panel

Presented by Josh Alters, Krystin Guggisberg and Chris Burt

Building from sport, Unified Leadership teaches leaders without disabilities to value and learn from people with intellectual disabilities to make changes and create environments where people with intellectual disabilities get opportunities to have meaningful jobs and roles.


11:15am - 12:00pm

Breakout Sessions

Leadership Session >>  “Trust” – Elaine Johannes, K-State Research & Extension

Trust in self, Trust in others and Trust in community

Health  Session >> “Self-advocay in Health Care” – Kelsey Goddard, Kansas Disability and Health Program

Self-Advocacy is the confidence to speak up, make decisions, find support, and reach out to family and friends when in need.


12:00pm - 1:00pm

Lunch – Sponsored by rescare kansas west


1:15pm - 2:00pm

Breakout Sessions

Leadership Session >> “Volunteer Recruitment and Retention” – Jeremie Ballinger, Director, Organizational Development, Special Olympics North America

Best practices in recruiting volunteer coaches and program assistants and then retaining them

Health  Session >> “Health Minds, Healthy Bodies” – Jessica Schuttler, KUMC

This presentation will provide an overview of the dimensions of wellness and strategies for promoting mental health in particular, including building healthy relationships, practicing healthy habits, and managing stress!


2:15pm - 3:00pm

Breakout Sessions

Leadership Session >> “Holding to Purpose” – Racquel Thiesen, Associate and Director of Community Partnerships, Kansas Leadership Center

It is easy to get lost in the details and forget to come up for air. We can lose sight of why we’re doing the work, why it matters to us in the first place. This session is intended to get us to return to the leadership idea of holding to purpose and how our impact is amplified when everyone is connected to purpose.

Health  Session >> “Diabetes Awareness and Prevention” – Silvia Reinhardt, Lions Club International

This presentation educates families and caregivers to reduce the prevalence of diabetes and improve the quality of life for those diagnosed.


3:15pm - 4:00pm

Breakout Sessions

Leadership Session >> “Working with the Law Enforcement Torch Run” – Luke Schulte, Senior VP of Development, Special Olympics Kansas

This presentation will provide an overview of the LETR and how you can engage with them locally for mutual benefits

Health  Session >> “Social Determinants of Health” – Unitedhealthcare

Social determinants of health (SDOH) are the conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.


4:15pm - 5:00pm


John Lair, President and CEO, Special Olympics Kansas




Monday, October 18


9:00am – 12:00pm

Sports Workshop


  • 5 Year Sports Plan
  • Coaching Education
  • Unified Sports at the community level
  • Sports calendar
  • Future Sports
  • Other (Please contact Tim Rehder with suggested topics)

A Special Thanks to our Sponsors!

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, click the link below!